Give youth a chance to elect new SK officers, implement SK Reform Act — Año

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The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) welcomed the announcement of Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III that the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections this May will proceed as scheduled because it will give the youth a chance to elect their new set of SK officers.

DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that holding the Barangay and SK elections is very important for the nation “in order for the SK Reform Act or RA 10742 to finally be implemented under a new set of youth leadership.”

Among the progressive provisions of the new SK law is its anti-dynasty provision, the first in the country’s history. Section 10 of said law on qualifications of an SK candidate is that he or she “must not be related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to any incumbent elected national official or to any incumbent elected regional, provincial, city, municipal, or barangay official, in the locality where he or she seeks to be elected.”

“There is so much potential for genuine change with the anticipated implementation of SK Reform Act as the youth will lead the way to electoral reforms in the country and initiate their own political reforms and development in their communities,” says Año.

“If we don’t hold the elections, we are missing out the opportunity to give the youth a chance to meaningfully contribute to barangay development,” he adds.

The SK Reform Act raised the age requirement of SK officials from 15 to 17 years old to 18 to 24 years old to legally enter into contracts and be held liable for any violation of law.

The new SK law also mandates the DILG and the National Youth Commission (NYC) to jointly design and implement the mandatory and continuing training programs for SK officials. This includes capability building on leadership, program and project development and sustainability, financial management, and accountability and transparency.

DILG Spokesperson Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya said that all elected SK officials must undergo the mandatory training programs before he or she can assume office.

“The DILG has developed modules for the new set of officials. We are hoping that this training will equip our youth leaders with the necessary skills to perform their functions well,” he says.

Malaya said that during their incumbency, SK officials must attend the continuing training programs to be undertaken by the NYC in coordination with the DILG. Deliberate failure to attend the said training programs shall constitute sufficient ground to disqualify SK officials or subject them to disciplinary actions.

“Another innovation of the new SK law is that SK officials will have a chance in truly participating in local governance. It mandates the creation of a Local Youth Development Council (LYDC) which will be composed of representatives of youth and youth-serving organizations in the provincial, city, and municipal level. The LYDC will also assist the planning and execution of projects and programs of the SK,” he says.

Malaya also called on the youth to make their vote count by voting wisely. He says that the DILG’s suggested traits to look for in barangay election candidates also applies to SK aspirants.

“Siya ay ‘matino’ kung hindi siya ‘corrupt’ at siya’y lumalaban sa katiwalian; lumaban at lumalaban sa iligal na droga; tapat sa serbisyo at bukas sa publiko; magaling at may disiplina; at walang kaugnayan sa masasamang tao or grupo,” he says.

As for a ‘mahusay’ candidate, he or she exhibits these traits: may platapormang pangkaunlaran at pangkapayapaan; huwaran at modelo ng kanyang mga kabarangay; sumusunod sa mga alituntunin ng pamahalaan at ng komunidad; maayos makitungo sa mga kabarangay; at may patas na pagtingin sa iba’t ibang problema sa barangay.

Malaya adds that while for a ‘maaasahan’ candidate, siya ay maalam at may kakayahan sa pagpaplano; alistong tumutulong sa panahon ng sakuna; nagmamalasakit sa kapwa; madaling malapitan sa oras ng pangangailangan; at subok sa pagtulong sa pagpapanatili ng kapayapaan at kaayusan.

The filing of certificate of candidacy for the Barangay and SK elections is scheduled on April 14 to 20, 2018 as per Commission on Elections Resolution No. 10246.